Xbox boss Phil Spencer has made Microsoft’s plainest promise yet around the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms.
Speaking to the Same Brain Youtube channel, Spencer pledged to keep releasing Call of Duty games on Sony’s consoles “as long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to”.
The future of Call of Duty on PlayStation has become a contentious topic for regulators such as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is currently scrutinising Microsoft’s planned $68n takeover of COD publisher Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft has repeatedly said it will keep releasing Call of Duty games for the forseeable future – and previously promised Call of Duty would remain on PlayStation “at least several more years” beyond Sony’s existing deal with Activision Blizzard. Still, regulators have questioned how long this will actually last, if and when Activision Blizzard is owned by Microsoft.
Here’s Spencer’s latest quote on the subject in full:
“We’re not taking Call of Duty from PlayStation… That’s not our intent,” Spencer said. “Our intent is not to do that and as long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to, our intent is that we’ll continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation – similar to what we’ve done with Minecraft since we owned that.
“We’ve expanded the places where people can play Minecraft, we haven’t reduced the places. And it’s been good, it’s been good for the Minecraft community – in my opinion – and we want to do the same when we think where Call of Duty can go over the years.”
Another issue for regulators has been the competitive advantage Microsoft might gain from including Call of Duty in its Game Pass subscription service.
If it did so, Microsoft could still keep releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation via its typical £70 upfront price, while alternatively offering it at no further cost to Xbox owners who have Game Pass already.
“For Xbox itself, players who have invested in our console, the biggest addition you’re going to see is some great games coming to Game Pass,” Spencer continued, without mentioning Call of Duty specifically by name. “This isn’t going to be about pulling those communities off of those other platforms. But I want it to be a great place to see those games.”
In September, PlayStation and Xbox traded blows over the future of Call of Duty following the announcement by the UK’s CMA that it would further investigate Microsoft’s $68bn Activision Blizzard takeover attempt.
“Giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty” had “major negative implications”, Sony said at the time.
In response, Microsoft fired back: “It makes zero business sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market leading console position.”
This latest promise from Spencer comes as the deal faces intense scrutinyahead of a final ruling from the UK’s CMA in spring 2023.
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